Takeaways from the Tenth Annual Central Coast Business Symposium

By Rachell Newburn

I attended the Tenth Annual Central Coast Business Symposium recently, and was inspired by the presentations from prominent women business leaders on the topic of change and the workplace of the future. I’m excited to share some of the symposium’s actionable takeaways!

Utilizing Non-Profit Strategies in Business

Lynda Gonzales-Chavez, Senior Vice President at YMCA of the USA, offered an interesting perspective on how for-profit companies can use strategies from the non-profit world to boost their businesses. The biggest takeaway here was the idea that business communities are changing which impacts clients, customers, consumers, and even employees. Businesses should prioritize leadership development and program innovation to continually address changing needs. Lynda also discussed the importance of creating collaborations between non-profit groups and businesses, which is something we at Collaboration have prioritized for years.

The Value of Pursuing a Dream

Lauren Gibbs is a silver medalist on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Bobsled team who left a high-powered role in sales to pursue her dream of competing at the Olympics. As a life-long athlete, she decided to take a chance and try out for the U.S. National Bobsled Team. To her surprise, she was chosen! She decided to quit her six-figure job and immerse herself into training for the Olympics; she quickly became an elite-level bobsledder and is currently training for the 2022 Olympic games. Lauren describes how she had it all from an outsider’s perspective: an amazing job, the ability to quickly climb the corporate ladder, and a great paycheck. But she just. wasn’t. happy. Bored and disengaged at work, she became disenfranchised when someone told her that it’s a given that she won’t love her work at some point in her career. Lauren saw too many leaders in title only, and not enough who actually led their teams. She aims to be a leader who teaches by doing versus telling. As a business owner, no one will love your business as much as you, so be sure to always be present and show up. Lauren reminded us that people quit jobs, not relationships. She advised us to always work for more than a paycheck and instead be sure the work you’re doing is important to you.

The Power of HR

Liane Hornsey, Chief People Officer at Uber, is adamant that the HR world is becoming increasingly important in the core operations of a business. Growth of a company begins with cultivating people, so recruiting great individuals in an ever-shrinking pool of talent is one of the challenges in HR today. HR strategies are shifting to better understand what employees want. Determine different ways to motivate different people so they can all help grow the business together. On the hot topic of millennials, Liane encourages the over-40 generation to remember that millennials are people too! They live for today, not tomorrow, so utilizing that mindset at work is essential for retaining top talent. At Uber, Liane led the charge to engage upper management with employees by requesting input from employees that the company actually used to enhance their work environment. They developed a performance and development plan that focused on five quarter goals: three for Uber, one for self, and one for citizenship. By developing employees and involving them in making decisions, everyone has the opportunity to impact change.

Bottom Line

The Central Coast Business Symposium was truly empowering because I could see the core values we live by at Collaboration being discussed in a broader scope. We always strive to be our best and never stop learning; to quote Lauren Gibbs, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

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